Tag Archives: Computers

How old is your computer mouse?

Last year my computer mouse died.  I decided to get get a cheap one to replace it.  If the replacement didn’t work out I would get more serious about finding another one later on.  The cheapo worked and in time I got used to it.  The other day, though, it began to show signs of wearing out.  I decided I was ready for another one – in fact, I would get a Bluetooth mouse to free up a needed USB port.  A quick trip to the store and I had my new model.  It cost more that the cheapo but it’s still nothing close to a high end product.  The difference though, is surprising.  I didn’t realize just how worn out the old mouse was until I started using the new one.  It has a more solid feel and is more responsive.  Sometimes a piece of equipment is wearing out but since we use it all the time we adjust to the poorer performance without realizing it.  Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of cash to upgrade this heavily used piece of computer gear.  

Laptop touchpad disable

I diddled and diddled with the settings for the touchpad on my laptop but it was driving me crazy.  I’d be typing along and look at the screen to find that the cursor had jumped to some other part of the document while I was typing.  I’d have to stop and fix the document before continuing.  Apparently, the heel of my left hand was brushing the touchpad while I typed and the computer was interpreting it as a tap, moving the cursor to wherever the pointer happened to be at that moment.

I think some computers come with a setting for disabling the touchpad while typing, but mine doesn’t.  The solution, for me is a free utility from Paradisoft called “Touchpad Locker.”  This little utility has a few settings, but I’ve been happy with it “out of the box.”  When I’m typing it disables the touchpad for 750 milliseconds.  That number can be adjusted, but it works fine for me right there.

UPDATE: I decided to up the lock out a bit, but when I did, it didn’t make any difference. I made it a ridiculously high number and still no change that I could tell. Then, when I rebooted, my ridiculously high number kicked in. Apparently, changes aren’t applied until a reboot.

Check it out at: www.paradisoft.com/

Don’t always trust the Windows Disk Defragmenter’s Recommendation

I’ve been working on a computer that was very sluggish.  It shouldn’t be a high powered gamer’s machine, just an middle aged Pentium 4 with a 1.9 gig processor.  The machine is underpowered in RAM, just 512 of memory.  Still, it behaved like a 1993 XT (for those who remember those golden days of computing).  Even shy of ram it shouldn’t run as slow as it did.  I checked it for viruses, the check taking about 4 hours.  I then ran Ad-Aware and it took about 8 hours.  No big problems.  I ran Ccleaner and let it aggressivly clean everything it could clean.

I checked it’s master hard drive, an 80 gig, and Windows Disk Defragmenter said it was fine.  However, the drive was about 80% full, mostly of a few videos, and since the computer sports 2 80 gig drives and the second drive was pretty much unused, I decided to move the big stuff off to drive 2.  It took about 4 hours to move the huge files.  When it was finished drive one had around 35 gigs and drive two had around 45 gigs on it.

When I looked at the Disk Defragmenter again, in spite of the fact that I had done nothing but move stuff off of drive one, it now said I needed to Defragment it.  It took about 3 hours and the performance gain is noticeable.  Once the memory is upgraded the computer should offer a few more years good service.

Here’s what I think is the deal.  Windows Disk Defragmenter must work on the average fragmentation of the hard drive.  Since I had a few huge video files that weren’t fragmented at all the “average” space on the hard disk was fine.  However, aside from the video files the disk turned out to be a real mess.

Moral of the story: if you have some big files, go ahead and run the Defragmenter anyway.  It can’t hurt, and it might just help.

NazNet reborn

I am site manager for NazNet.com.  It’s a great place for fellowship among members and friends of the Church of the Nazarene.  One week ago the server’s hard drive crashed.  Since NazNet is a non-commercial site we don’t have backup redundancy on it, so when it went down we were basically back at the beginning.

Even though I’m dabble with technical stuff, I’m a pastor, so I don’t install server software every day.  I thought we’d be down for several days.  However, as I said, I am a pastor, so as I considered the task ahead of me I prayed, asking the Lord to help me do what needed to be done to get NazNet up and running again.

It was after our Wednesday night disciple group meeting that I came home and went to work on “NazNet reborn.”  I installed stuff like PHP, MYSQL, and other programs that no one ever thinks about but is used by everyone who uses the internet every day.

In a few hours I was surprised to have a test forum running.  Things just seemed to fall into place.  Rather than just open the forums and going to bed, I couldn’t resist staying with it, adding some of the “bells and whistles” I hadn’t intended to install until later on.  I was tired, but I was also on a roll and didn’t want to quit.

When I went to bed late Wednesday (actually early Thursday) NazNet was up and running and feeling pretty much like “home” to anyone who is a regular user of the forums there.

Someone who has a bone to pick with NazNet and, I think, the Church of the Nazarene in general, posted on their blog that “God crashed NazNet.”  I couldn’t help but think that if God wanted to crash a website he could do a better job than take it down for a few hours.

Rather, I think the opposite happened.  I think “God blessed NazNet.”  With amazing speed and capability I don’t even have I was able to put the website back up.  I understood what to do and how to do it even though I was dealing with installations of server software that I’ve only worked with once or twice in the past 10 years.

Tonight, we are just a week past the “crash” and I see that NazNet has over 200 people registered and over 2000 posts.  For God’s help in all the technical stuff and for all the good folks who have good naturedly re-registered and reignited the fellowship I give God the glory.

Automatically backing up files

I had a minor disaster this morning.  I was disappointed to find that I’d accidentally dumped 28 devotionals I’ve written from the Book of Matthew.  I haven’t published any of my NT work, so I lost a month’s work.  Needless to say, it was a real downer to me.

That caused me to look into some kind of automatic back up solution.  I needed some kind of backup approach to these files that would happen automatically, I wanted it to be easy to set up, I wanted it to keep incremental backups, and I wanted it to (ah-hem) be FREE.  The answer was Dropbox.

First, I downloaded, installed, and created an account with Dropbox.  It creates a new folder in My Documents.  Anything put in that folder is automatically backed up to their secure server.  Up to 2 Gigs is free – that’s more than enough for my text only back up needs.

Second, I moved the folders I wanted to keep automatically backed up into the new “My Dropbox” folder. A visit to the Droplink website confirmed that the folders now existed in my Dropbox account.

Third, I installed the Dropbox program on my second computer. Once I did that, the files I had already put in the Dropbox folder on the first computer appeared on the second computer. From now on, if I change one of those files on one computer, they are automatically synced on the other computer. Not only that, but Dropbox is keeping incremental backups of those files. If I mess up like I did this morning, I can go to the Drobox website and recover those files!

Hopefully, this is the last time I’ll ruin my morning by discovering that I’ve overwritten my work!

PS: If you use this link to sign up for DropBox they’ll give me even more free storage.